There has been a small spike in license plate and registration sticker thefts in St. Louis this month. Your license plate can be easily taken off of your car no matter where you are parked, home or not. Most thieves only need a screwdriver to take it and there can be major ramifications for you if your plates are used by someone else. For example, if your plates are identified with a crime, you could be a suspect if you haven’t reported them missing.
What do you do if your license plate is stolen?
- Immediately report it to the police – call the non-emergency number.
- Obtain an incident report number – It is illegal to drive without plates, but if you have your report number or an official copy of the report you can give it to an officer if they pull you over.
- Report the stolen plate to the Licensing Office at City Hall – bring your incident report number. There will be a small replacement fee.
- Get a temporary tag or a new license plate.
- Secure your new plates with the methods outlined below.
How can you prevent license plate theft?
- Get theft prevention screws – Most thieves will carry around a screwdriver to get off plates. If you use special screws that require a particular tool to remove them, it is likely the thief will move on. There are multiple brands, such as Torx Security Screws or Plate Keeper.
- Get a plate security frame or cover – These go around the edge of your plate or cover it entirely and keep people from taking them off. There are multiple brands, such as Lock-Um.
How can you prevent registration sticker theft?
- You can obtain enhanced security tabs/stickers that have perforated edges to make them difficult to remove by thieves. They also have your license plate number on them to dissuade thieves. They are free at time of renewal, or you can obtain them later for an $8.50 replacement fee and $3.50 processing fee.
- You can slice your old sticker with something sharp, like a razor (be very careful!). This makes them difficult to remove.
Abigail Orscheln — Safety and Security Intern